Arras (EN)

Arras ?

The squares, market and town illuminations

In the sixteenth century an edict by Philip II forbade “building within the town of Arras unless the walls are of stone and brick, and with no overhang over the streets”. These architectural constraints were imposed as a safety measure but also with a view to embellishment. Their result was the creation of an architectural ensemble that is unique in Europe, with 155 facades of Flemish Baroque style. Constructed at right angles to the squares, the large number of narrow-fronted houses afforded more traders an on-street position.

Since the Middle Ages, the history of the town’s squares has been inseparable from that of its markets. Witness to 1,000 years of tradition, the Arras market is a colourful, not-to-be-missed event. The colours and mouth- watering smells tempt the taste buds. Wonderful foodstuffs and local produce are laid out on the stalls. Stands offering jewellery, fabrics and clothing wares jostle for position. Abandon yourself to a moment of conviviality in this vibrant market.

How lovely the town is at night! The main monuments in Arras are bathed in light, showing themselves to their best advantage and offering you yet another excuse for strolling and reverie. 

Arras and the remembrance of WW1

Arras was the only town in France to occupy a front-line position for the entire duration of the Great War. Devastated at ground level, the town retreated underground where 24,000 British soldiers, garrisoned in the subterranean tunnels, prepared for the Battle of Arras, one of the most unthinkable surprise attacks in history which in April 1917 placed Arras at the centre of the conflict. The Wellington Quarry, the Arras British Cemetery, the Canadian Memorial Park in Vimy, the Museum Letaille in Bullecourt, the Necropolis of Notre-Dame de Lorette and the « Anneau de la Mémoire » and dozens of places of remembrance of all nationalities weave in the Artois Region the memory of a tactical battlefield of planetary proportions.

A World Heritage Site : the Vauban Citadel

Built between 1668 and 1672 to the plans of the architect Vauban, the Citadel is a fine example of seventeenth century military architecture. Surrounding the Place d’Armes, a series of barracks, the arsenal and a Baroque-style chapel complete the complex. Outside the enclosure, the “Mur des Fusillés” pays tribute to the 218 Resistance members who were shot in the defensive ditches of the Citadel during the Second World War. Vauban’s fortifications, comprising the Citadel and eleven other sites, have been included on the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites since 7th july 2008. 


Versailles Castle organize permanent exhibitions in Arras (museum of Fine-Arts) to 2020.

Practical information :

To Paris-North station in 50 minutes by TGV train ; to Brussels-Midi station in 80 minutes. Motorways to France, England, Belgium and Netherlands. 

To Paris-CDG Roissy Airport in 90 minutes by motorway ; to Brussels National Airport in 100 minutes by motorway ; to Brussels-South Airport (Charleroi) in 100 minutes by motorway. To Channel Tunnel (Calais-Dover) in 75 minutes. 

Arras is an average town, not disturbed by traffic of capital towns. Many hotels (all categories), shops and all services in the town-center. 

For the congressist, all travels in town by foot. With accommodation in Arras, they can have a touristic travel to Paris during the day.

Grand place 1

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Date de dernière mise à jour : 13/03/2018